Sunday, November 10, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [19]

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapters 17-22

Professor Umbridge has been using her new position as the Hogwarts High Inquisitor to her advantage. She has been ordering decrees to limit what the students and teachers can do, including a decree that all organizations must be approved by her. So much for the D.A.D.A club... right? Wrong. Harry and friends decide to have the D.A.D.A. meetings anyway, and the first one goes well! Its really too bad then, that while Harry is finding a way to defy Umbridge, he gets into a fight with Malfoy and Umbridge gives him, Fred and George a lifetime ban on playing Quidditch. A Life. Time. Ban.
Illustration by Amanda Grazini
While Harry and the Quidditch team are sulking, they see Hagrid returning to his hut and they sneak down to see him, only to find that he looks badly beaten. He was on a secret mission with Olympe Maxime trying to recruit the giants against Voldemort. Before Harry and his friends can really warn Hagrid about what's being going on at the school, Umbridge shows up interrogating him about where he's been.

Umbridge shows up the next day at Hagrid's class where he is teaching the students about, thestrals, the creepy horses that pull the carriages at the start of every term - you know, the ones Harry and Luna could see, but no one else could. Neville can see them too, and they find out that it's because only those who have seen death can see the thestrals. Umridge doesn't seemed pleased with the lesson though, and is definitely giving Hagrid a bad review.

Harry's days start to improve though, and he and Cho have a private moment in which Harry has his first kiss. He's on cloud nine of course, but when he goes to sleep, he has a strange dream that doesnt feel like a dream at all - Harry is a snake attacking someone - and that someone is Ron's dad. In a panic, Harry tells Dumbledore who uses his resources to find out that Mr. Weasley has indeed been attacked. The headmaster sends Harry and all of the Weasley children to stay with Sirius while they make sure Mr. Weasley is rescued and until things can be sorted out, and Professor McGonagall takes measures to make sure Umbridge doesnt interfere.


I don't even think I can begin to tell you my level of frustration when Harry gets a LIFETIME BAN on Quidditch. I mean we all know that doesn't last what with Umbridge only being "high inquisitor" for one year, but honestly. I hate the feeling of utter helplessness that almost sets in when Harry realizes that no matter what he does, it won't do any good. Umbridge had it out for him, and he had to learn to live with that. That's why I'm so glad that Harry and all the other students decided to go forward with their D.A.D.A. lessons. And thank god for them because honestly, can you imagine those poor kids going out into the world with no practical D.A.D.A. instruction. And they really do learn a few things, even in those first few lessons. Most of them didn't know how useful the expelliarmus spell could really be, but think about it. Harry uses it, and often, and he's survived a whole lot in the last 4 1/2 books.

And even through all the horribleness (is that a word?) going on in his life, Harry still finds a way to be somewhat happy... he and Cho Chang share their first kiss! I mean, its about time, don't you think. Harry is fifteen - most kids these days start at like.. ten. Sad and kind of gross, but true. Either way, I like that Harry maintained a modicum of innocence in the romance department until about year four or five. Cho annoys the heck out of me though. Yes, she is grieving, but come on. If you want a boy to like you, you don't go blubbering all over him all the time, sheesh. I'm so glad I'm not fifteen anymore!

I've heard from a lot of people that they preferred Cho and Harry to Ginny and Harry. For me, the jury is still out on Ginny and I'm hoping that re-reading the last two books will help me out with that decision, but Cho gets a firm NO from me. First of all, how would they be able to get past that kind of grief that is between them? How could they be expected to? Sure they'd be there to comfort each other, but Harry would always think Cho missed Cedric more than she was happy about being with him. Cho would always be upset about Cedric and would probably wonder how things would've been had he not died. She even says to Harry that if Cedric had known D.A.D.A. that maybe he would've lived. She obviously was not over Cedric or his death and pursuing Harry was just not a good idea all around. Maybe things would've been different with an adult relationship between two mature people, but I think Rowling made the right decision in ending that one with book 5. Not to mention she was a snot and was already jealous and suspicious of Harry and Hermione without even asking what was really going on... I'm sorry but a needy, emotional, jealous teenager is exactly what Harry did not need. So hey - three cheers for Ginny. At least she turns out to be a strong and understanding partner, even if all the feels weren't necessarily emanating off the pages... understandable considering Harry did have a lot going on by the end of book 6. Anyway, that's a discussion for a later book.

What do you all think about what's been going on in these last few chapters? Talk to you all soon!


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